SOURCE: McKesson

July 01, 2005 09:41 ET

Nursing Leaders Convene to Discuss Medication Safety

Two-Day Event Yields Practical Recommendations for Tackling Key Challenges

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 1, 2005 -- More than 75 senior nursing executives from around the country convened for the first annual Nursing Leadership Congress June 2-3 in Sonoma, Calif. The purpose of the Congress was to collaborate on best-practice approaches to medication safety and begin developing practical tools that can be used to make healthcare safer in the nation's hospitals. McKesson and Intel sponsored the event in collaboration with Joint Commission Resources, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. Recommendations will be made available this fall.

"The chief nursing executive is generally also the organization's chief patient advocate, and it's our role to drive process improvements and cultural changes that improve patient safety," said Linda Knodel, senior vice president and chief nursing officer for St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Region 6 AONE Board of Directors member. "Nurses welcome opportunities to roll up our sleeves with our peers. These two days allowed us to generate practical recommendations that can address one of our industry's most significant challenges."

One recommendation is a tool kit that measures tangible return on investment (ROI) for medication safety technology solutions. "Chief medical officers, chief nursing officers and other clinical department leaders are most interested in quality improvement and patient safety, but the chief financial officers who approve funding for technology are interested in harder ROI measurements, such as decrease in hospital stay days, percentage reduction in prescription errors, and efficiency measures such as time saved per shift," said Mark Blatt, M.D., M.B.A., Intel's director of global healthcare strategies. "Publishing methodologies for measuring ROI that meet the criteria of each group is one way the Nursing Leadership Congress plans to help advance medication safety initiatives."

To address this year's theme of "Building Bridges: Medication Safety," plenary sessions and roundtables focused on how nursing leaders can help practitioners and clinical departments work together to make the medication use process safer for patients. Billie Waldo, M.S., R.N., B.C., McKesson's vice president and general manager of medication safety, presented the findings of a national research study conducted by Harris Interactive(SM) and commissioned by McKesson to determine how frontline nurses view their jobs, the current state of patient medication use and the extent to which information technology is used in hospitals to make healthcare delivery safer. Nurses who responded felt that progress has been made to improve medication safety in hospitals and cited technology as one of the key reasons. At the same time, survey results indicate they believe that much work remains to address gaps in areas such as technology deployment, cultural change and workforce development.

Keynote speaker David Lawrence, M.D., former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, further set the Congress tone by labeling "non-scientifically supported variation in medicine as the enemy of safe practice." He called for the healthcare industry to "step up to other high-reliability industries that tolerate virtually no errors."

A panel of prominent researchers and practicing nurse leaders shared research implications and best practices regarding workforce management and staffing. They also discussed survey tools for measuring an organization's safety culture, the use of Failure Modes and Effects Analysis to ensure patient safety, and special implications for smaller hospitals. Linda Connell, M.A., R.N., director of the NASA Patient Safety Reporting System, concluded the Congress by describing efforts under way to make her agency's nonpunitive reporting tool more broadly available to help reduce medical errors the way it has for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Roundtable discussions addressed topics such as cultural change, interdisciplinary communication, innovative approaches to workflow, technology as an enabler of medication safety improvements, and the nurse executive's role as patient safety leader. Participants sought to identify opportunities and barriers to change and worked to define the "future state" of medication safety.

"Nurses have many opportunities to network, but the feedback we've received is that the attendees' level of experience and peer interaction in a relaxed, intimate setting distinguished this event," said Waldo. "McKesson is grateful to the sponsors and collaborating organizations who made this first Congress possible, and to the participants who made it a success. We are committed to promoting an ongoing dialogue among nursing leaders that advances the important work begun this year."

For more information on the 2005 McKesson Survey of Frontline Nurses' Perceptions of the State of Patient Safety conducted by Harris Interactive, visit McKesson's Web site at

About McKesson

McKesson Corporation is a Fortune 15 healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 170-year history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare, and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, call 800-981-8601 or visit

About the Collaborating Organizations

Founded in 1967, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association, is the nation's leading organization for nurses in executive practice and those who aspire to leadership roles. Its mission is to represent nurse leaders who improve healthcare. AONE members are leaders in collaboration and catalysts for innovation. AONE's vision is "Shaping the future of healthcare through innovative nursing leadership." The organization provides leadership, professional development, advocacy and research in order to advance nursing practice and patient care, promote nursing leadership excellence and shape healthcare public policy. For more information, visit

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) is a nonprofit healthcare agency comprising pharmacists, nurses and physicians. Founded in 1994, ISMP is dedicated to learning about medication errors, understanding their system-based causes and disseminating practical recommendations that can help healthcare providers, consumers and the pharmaceutical industry prevent errors. For more information, visit

Joint Commission Resources, Inc. (JCR) is a global, knowledge-based organization that disseminates information regarding accreditation, standards development and compliance, good practices, and healthcare quality improvement. Joint Commission Resources is dedicated to helping healthcare organizations worldwide to improve the quality of patient care and achieve peak performance. JCR is an affiliate of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). For more information, visit

The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving patient safety and reducing medical errors by funding research and raising awareness with hospitals, healthcare systems, doctors and nurses, and the patients and families they serve. Having worked to make patient safety a national priority, the NPSF is working with the healthcare industry to find affordable ways through research and education to reduce medical errors and to improve the quality of the nation's healthcare. The NPSF was founded in 1996 and incorporated in 1997 by the American Medical Association, CNA HealthPro and 3M, with significant support from the Schering-Plough Corporation. For more information, visit

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